Croatian Chardonnay Tasting
Behold the Judgement of Wine&more. One of the most widespread varieties in the World found its home everywhere and we decided to choose a Croatian representative of the Chardonnay.
The tasting was done blind. Eight preselected samples were all equally prepared. The five eager tasters were given enough time to decide, and after a perfidious argument over who was right and who was wrong, the results are astonishing.
The first place is shared by Korak Chardonnay Sur Lie 2018 and Krauthaker Chardonnay Rosenberg 2018 !!!
These are the most famous Croatian Chardonnays and obviously for a good reason. Korak is thriving with several last vintages achieving subtlety and finesse comparable to the finest Chardonnays. The influence of wood is well handled and the balance is impeccable with a lot of substance. Layered and persistent, it carries clear mineral hints such as seashells in the background. It opens slowly and gradually transforms with every sip revealing its depth and complexity.
Krauthaker Chardonnay from Rosenberg vineyards is one of the best sellers on the Croatian fine wine market. This label shaped the reference for the Chardonnay for many Croatian wine lovers. Surprisingly, no one recognized this wine on the tasting. At first, the influence of ageing in wood is perceived but not in terms of vanilla or cloves. The integration is not yet complete but it will shape the material in the bottle with time. What is mostly welcomed is a firm backbone and layers of fruit and vinous aromas. It is also a food wine, with gourmet acids well spread along the palate creating a lovely vivacious dynamic.
Antunović Chardonnay Grand Selection 2017 at close second place really divided the tasters. Perhaps because this Chardonnay is bottled for ageing and it requires a lot of time to fully open. It starts with gentle floral aromatics, but not perfumy at all. There is also some chamomile and vanilla at first, but the very fruit seems gorgeous. You can taste the superior quality of extract but without heaviness. Decanting this wine is a must. Further ageing is recommended in order for it to integrate and deepen even more, with a potentially stunning inner balance.
Bolfan Primus Chardonnay 2012 just entered its drinking window. A lot of intriguing freshness on the nose reminds of tropical fruit at first and feels almost grapey, but on the palate a vinous presence persists. A quality extract absorbed the 2 year ageing in barrique barrels but tiny alcoholic spike disrupts otherwise perfect harmony.
Grown in the fluvial soils where the Neretva river flows into the Adriatic, Prović CH 2017 carries a very specific signature of the place – salinity in the aftertaste is pronounced. This truly unique and terroir driven Chardonnay opens up with exotic smell of fruit and oriental spice, but changes significantly with time in the glass. A unique and interesting experience is more abrupt in comparison with previous vintages, but is still a worthy interpretation of Chardonnay.
And for something completely different, Roxanich Sorelle 2013 is far from the extreme skin contact orange wines Roxanich estate is proud of. It is still, however, Chardonnay with prolonged skin contact. As a result there is a broad spectrum of aromas fighting for dominance, from citrusy to honey. It lasts quite long with yellow tannin in the aftertaste leaving dry mouthfeel but it should be less flat for a better score. As expected, this sample was the most controversial and received the highest and the lowest grades simultaneously.
The second Danube subregion representative was Josić Chardonnay Superior 2019, for a far more “greenier” and refreshing style. Fruity expressions and balance between refreshing acids and fruit ripeness, typical for the Baranja area. If there was a bit more structure it would be more successful as a Chardonnay but it provides a succulent experience of primary fruit in a well-tailored manner.
Griffin Chardonnay Sur Lie 2017 starts aggressively with vanilla and buttery smells and finishes with borderline bitterness. A yeasty mouthfeel bites along the palate and it feels like the fruit can’t handle the elevage. Time will tell how well it will handle it.
Instead of conclusion, we all agreed that the Croatian Chardonnay tasting needs to be repeated as soon as possible 🙂 And frequently so!